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People in emerging markets are a lot more satisfied than they were in 2007, according to a survey by Pew Research, with Indonesians and the Chinese surging ahead in their accumulation of contentment.

By interviewing 47,643 people in 43 countries and comparing the results to a similar survey undertaken in 2007, Pew concluded that the greatest increases in “life satisfaction” occurred in Asia. In Indonesia, satisfaction levels increased by 35 percentage points over the past seven years; in China, satisfaction grew by 26 percentage points. 

The death of Michael Sata, Zambia’s president, could delay an International Monetary Fund visit to the southern African nation and, consequently, any Fund support package.

Africa’s second largest copper producer turned to the IMF in June as the kwacha hit record lows against the US dollar and the government battled a wide fiscal deficit after Sata’s administration reaped the fruit of what was seen as excessive public spending. 

** FT News **

* Acid attacks on women spread fear in Iran | Up to eight women in the central city of Isfahan have been injured in acid attacks this month

* Jerusalem on edge after shooting of rabbi | Attack on religious activist raises fears of broader Israeli-Palestinian confrontation 

Nimbuzz, a Netherlands-based but India-focused messaging app, was acquired by New Call Telecom of the UK this week in a deal that valued the company at about $250m.

That is a tiny sum compared with the $22bn Facebook paid this year for WhatsApp, with its 465m users worldwide. Nimbuzz has 200m registered users, mostly in India, the Middle East and north Africa, and its success in the vast Indian market provides important lessons for tech companies in Asia’s third largest economy. 

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By Andrew Foxall, The Henry Jackson Society

Western sanctions against Russia, first imposed in March, have strengthened that significant body of Russia’s elite who want to see a much more state-led style of development. During last week’s Valdai Club meeting in Sochi, President Putin argued that sanctions would help Russia’s ambitions by reducing its economic dependence on the West.

While Russia’s emphasis on self-sufficiency pre-dates the Ukraine crisis, its statism has intensified as Russia’s economy has started to show the strain of sanctions. 

The downturn in China’s property market is well documented, and one of the biggest points of interest for global investors. Whether you mine copper, sell TVs, or buy bonds, chances are the Chinese housing market matters to you somehow.

With that in mind, we’d like to present this handy chart from Moody’s – showing the annual price changes for newly completed apartments in China. It’s quite telling. 

** FT News **

* Nato jets intercept Russian aircraft | ‘Significant military manoeuvres’ conducted in past 24 hours

* Brazil raises rates to three-year high | Disagreement over level was a battleground of election 

And now the hurly burly’s done. With Brazil’s presidential run-off last weekend, this year’s elections in the five big deficit-plagued emerging markets are now complete.

Growth in all the fragile five – Brazil, India, Indonesia, Turkey and South Africa – has slowed, and ongoing current account deficits leave them vulnerable to a tightening of global credit. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the elections saw shifts against incumbents. Yet how far that move went, and what it is likely to mean for future policy, has divided those countries and may well determine their performance in the future. 

More evidence of the slowdown afflicting emerging markets: bank lending conditions have dipped back into negative territory. So finds a report to be published today by the Institute of International Finance. The tightening in the third quarter of the year follows an improvement in the second quarter and was driven by weaker demand for credit and a significant increase in non-performing loans, according to the IIF.

Felix Huefner, the IIF’s deputy director for global macroeconomic analysis, said the deterioration in bank lending on the demand side had come even as funding conditions, on the supply side, had shown some improvement. But he said even those conditions had become more challenging at the end of the quarter. 

By Mark Goldring of Oxfam

From the IMF to the Pope, from President Barack Obama to the World Economic Forum, there is a growing consensus that extreme economic inequality is one of the defining challenges of our time and that failure to address it is both economically and socially damaging. Yet despite this consensus, very little is being done.

The number of billionaires in the world has more than doubled since 2009. But while those at the top have recovered from the recession quickly, the benefits of economic growth are not being shared evenly. This means that while the wealthy are getting richer, we are not eradicating poverty at the speed that we could. 

Of the many resources used by Dilma Rousseff’s campaign managers in Brazil’s close-fought and acrimonious presidential election, one of the most striking was a simple, full-face photograph. The original was taken 44 years ago, when the 22-year-old Rousseff was under arrest as a member of the armed resistance to Brazil’s military dictatorship. What was already a striking portrait has been worked on and reshaped to produce something truly powerful, an image verging on the iconic that is packed with significance not only for Brazil’s past and present but also, who knows, for its future. 

While most Indians were celebrating the Diwali holiday last week, authorities in New Delhi slipped out an order that may bring an end to the state monopoly on coal mining.

Many analysts are now questioning, however, whether international mining groups will enter India if the government follows through on last week’s ordinance. And more to the point – even if they do, is this the answer to India’s acute energy shortage? 

** FT News **

* Fake China export invoices make comeback | Phantom exports used to skirt country’s strict capital controls

* Nestlé milk shake-up ends drain on water | Group’s infant formula plant in Mexico operates using waste byproduct 

In the years since the financial crisis, emerging markets have been awash with free-flowing global liquidity. Easy money from western central banks – notably the Fed – has driven up equity markets and currencies, and slashed borrowing costs.

On Wednesday, the QE punchbowl is finally set for the dishwasher. So will investors in emerging markets call it a night? 

** FT News **

* Russia behind cyber attacks, says group | Security analyst FireEye claims to be tracking ‘focused, longstanding espionage effort’

* Alibaba’s market value nudges Walmart | Jack Ma’s ecommerce group is closing in on the list of the world’s 10 most valuable companies